Drawing the same opponents from last year's group stage (University of Wisconsin at Madison and Northwestern University), Michigan faced two familiar and formidable foes Saturday afternoon.
First up were the Badgers of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who were, like the Wolverines, looking to defend their 2015 MASC co-champion title. Evenly matched throughout, the game saw both teams create and miss quality chances on goal. It wasn't until halfway through the second half that a Badgers freekick lead to chaos in front of the Michigan goal, forcing Graham Keep to make a save among a crowd of players at the very edge of the Michigan goal line. Unfortunately, the refereeing crew believed the whole ball to have crossed the goal line and awarded the Badgers the goal and the lead. Michigan fought back to try and earn an equalizing goal of their own, but the final whistle was blown and Wisconsin ran away with an important win, leaving Michigan in a must-win situation in their next match.
Only two hours later, Michigan began their warm-up for their winner-goes-through match against the 10-0-0 Northwestern University Wildcats. After an inspiring pre-match speech, Michigan came out determined to convincingly win the match and hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season. And it could not have played out much better because only 90 seconds into the match, Michigan junior midfielder, Hunter Mejaly, ran onto a loose ball at the top of the Northwestern box and fired it into the bottom left corner to give the Wolverines the early lead. Both teams then continued to fight for the last spot from Group C in the next day's semi-finals. As the final whistle approached, Michigan looked to solidify their lead and dash any hopes of a late Wildcat comeback. With just ten minutes left, junior midfielder, Marco Schiebert, sprinted towards the Northwestern backline and slid to tap a ball just beyond the defenders and into the path of senior forward, David Farber, who finished and gave Michigan a 2-0 lead. Not quite satisfied, the Wolverines took advantage of a poor Wildcat corner kick and junior midfielder, Andrew Smutek, went off to the races and made an amazing 90 yard sprint with the ball to go coast-to-coast, beating the last of the Northwestern defenders, only to selflessly find the streaking junior forward, Ty Gilhuly, who improved the Wolverines lead to 3-0.
With the win, the Wolverines earned second place in Group C and a bid in the tournament semi-finals where Michigan will meet Loyola University Chicago (11:00 am). The winner of this match will go on to play the winner of the other semi-final game between Indiana University and Ohio State University. You can follow all match scores at